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"Don't Waste It."


Don’t Waste It…

The teacher shortage subject came up two days ago, when a stranger’s car door was taken by the wind and hit my passenger side car door. Now, before anyone jumps to any conclusions… A miracle happened.

Before I could check my passenger side car door. The middle-aged woman became emphatically apologetic. I replied, “Let me just check.” I checked, as wind whipped, and the sun shined in the near cloudless afternoon. There was not a mark. She repeated herself, “The wind just took the door.” I replied, “Hey. It’s okay. I understand. It happened to me about ten years ago. And see there’s not a mark.” Her car a large SUV relatively new. Mine a small Subaru also relatively new. I was surprised had no damage. Not a mark.

She, still in apologetic mode. To allay her concerns. I said, “Let me tell you something. I’ll tell you why there is not a mark from your car door to mine. I’m not terribly religious. However, my husband died two years ago, and this was the car he ordered for himself as he was dying. He’s now present on another level. So, we could say this is the blessing of an angel.” She smiled. She responded, “I just couldn’t believe the wind.” I nodded.

We began to discuss the teacher shortage. We mutually knew a same someone in education, in my town. Then we discussed how people have become misguided in their expectations of teachers, lifeguards and the like since COVID. She said, “It’s like some people have just gotten crazy.” She looked for agreement. I concurred, “Yes. They’re not looking at the fact that all of us all over the world went through this. No one that we know of did not have to contend with certain adjustments and major interruptions of sorts.” She agreed.

We discussed how we may get some teachers out of this at the end of the day. Or rather in a few years. How there is and will be a calling to be teachers again. I remarked, “The kids who went to school and got a degree yet didn’t get the job they wanted may still had student debt. They just might consider teaching, because of their student loan forgiveness. That could motivate them to give back.” She replied, “You’re right. I think that could happen.” I commented, “We should never be envious or upset that someone got a leg-up when it comes to education. We should cheer them on. Because when we do, the former student may recognize what’s needed in society because they are now less stressed due to loan forgiveness. That’s how you get a teacher, a better worker.” She replied, “Yeah.”

As we stood there chatting. We exchanged first names. Gave each other a fist pump. As we did I said, “You know, sometimes there’s a reason people meet. And when they do even if we don’t know why, it still matters. Did you ever see the movie ’Saving Private Ryan’?” She replied, “No.” I explained, “One of the final scenes, as an officer is dying. His last words to Private Ryan are, ‘Don’t Waste It’. So, we may have no clue why this happened. This time here is not a waste. But I will tell you, we shared information about society today. And everything that happens to us and who we meet matters. When you have it to give, don’t envy it. You let it be given. Don’t waste it. If its forgiveness, take the ball and run with it.” We smiled as we parted.---Jody-Lynn Reicher


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